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Cats and Dogs in the Second World War

2019 March 17

         Spratt’s dog gas mask

I am speaking this week at the Wigmore library in Gillingham, on what happened to animals, particularly in London, during the 1939 -45 war (see the events notice).  Positive individual animal stories that have passed down in families will be raised.

While I will probably pay attention to Winston Churchill’s personal relationship with cats, including the black Nelson in Downing Street and his ginger in Chartwell,   I will also refer to another Winston Churchill. This one was a Siamese cat born on Jersey in 1941 who was fed on limpets and managed to evade the Nazi troops since he scarcely left the house. Another family cat was called Hitler, because of a black patch under his nose. This cat was also taught ” to raise its right paw in some parody of a Hitler salute when it was given food”…

I intend to pass around some visual images of the time, though I don’t imagine circulating the Spratt’s advert for a dog gas mask (above). Though photographic images of dogs wearing masks do exist, unsurprisingly dog gas masks rarely seem to form part of a written or clearly passed down family story!


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